Thursday, 28 October 2021

Milanović: Children Should Get Vaccinated Too

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday people not vaccinated against COVID were getting sick, urging people to get vaccinated to avoid another lockdown and saying that children should get vaccinated too and go to school as distance education no longer made sense.

Speaking to the press in Delnice, the president said he sympathized and understood, but added that the situation was much more different than a year ago.

As for Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's statement that he would not interfere in the retirement of Honorary and Protection Battalion commander Elvis Burčul, Milanović called it childish and said the problem could not be solved by the Minister of Defence but the Prime Minister.

"The conditions for retirement are clear and as long as I am the president and the (Armed Forces) commander in chief, no one will be harassed by petty politicians," he said, referring to Defence Minister Mario Banožić, who sent Colonel Burčul into early retirement.

As for illegal drugs in the military, including dealing, Milanović said he would consider irresponsible all commanders who did not pay the most serious attention to the problem.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Minimum Wage to Rise By 10.3% to €500 in 2022

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Croatia's minimum wage for 2022 will be HRK 3,750 (€500), rising by 10.3%, and will thus be above 50% of the average net pay for the first time.

The government on Thursday adopted a regulation on the minimum wage after consultations with all social partners.

We have assessed that in the current circumstances, the minimum wage can be increased from HRK 3,400 to HRK 3,750, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said.

He went on to say that the net minimum wage of €500 would concern 51,000 workers who now receive the minimum take-home pay.

This is for the first time that the net minimum wage will be above 50% of the average monthly wage, as it will reach 52.7% of that wage.

In August, the average monthly take-home pay was HRK 7,118 (€949), when the median wage was HRK 6,014. (€802).

The new minimum wage will be 60% of the median wage.

All of this is a great step forward, Plenković said, recalling that five years ago the minimum wage was 38% of the average wage.

Over the last five years, the minimum wage has risen by HRK 1,254, or four times more than during the terms of the previous three governments, Plenković underscored.

The gross minimum wage in 2022 will be HRK 4,687.50, Labour Ministry State Secretary Dragan Jelić said.

He informed the government that the average gross salary had risen during the first seven months of 2021 as against the corresponding period of 2020.

(€1= HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

"Vienna" Initiative, HNB Hold Annual Conference on Financial Trends in Split

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - A two-day conference on economic trends in central, eastern, and southeastern Europe, the consequences of the corona crisis, climate change, and inflation, which was organized by the European Bank Coordination "Vienna" Initiative and the Croatian National Bank (HNB), started in Split on Thursday.

The European Bank Coordination “Vienna” Initiative is a framework for safeguarding the financial stability of emerging Europe. The Initiative was launched at the height of the first wave of the global financial crisis in January 2009.

Opening this annual conference, the HNB Governor and Chairman of the Vienna Initiative Steering Committee, Boris Vujčić, said that the availability of bank lending was currently much better than in 2019, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of course, during the lockdown of economies there was no need for taking funds, as economic activity was suspended, but the price of the money today is more favorable, the governor said in his opening speech.

Asked whether he feared inflation, Vujčić said that he could now, perhaps, be more afraid of inflation than other citizens, however, inflation was not currently an important issue.

He elaborated that this year's 2.3% inflation rate should not be a rate that caused concern.

It will grow into a bigger problem if such a rate remains present for a long period, he explained.

The governor also admitted that a part of bankruptcy proceedings that had not happened during the pandemic could ensue later and that state grants for job-keeping measures helped to achieve employment even higher than before the corona crisis.

He said that Croatia would get an exact date for the euro changeover next summer.

HNB survey shows that 61% of Croats are for switching to the euro

As for a referendum initiative by a few right-wing parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties against the adoption of the euro in Croatia, Vujčić said that not one country that introduced the euro had experienced a decline in living standards.

He went on to say that opinion polls conducted by the central bank show that 61% of Croatians support the euro, 19% are against it, and the remaining respondents are also in favor of the euro on certain conditions. 

The HNB reports on its website that the participants in the Split conference include Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Mark Bowman, the European Investment Bank Vice-President, Lyiana Pavlova, World Bank Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia, Anna Bjerde, who will join virtually, as well as central bank Governors of Estonia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

Representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the European Investment Fund will also be participating in the conference together with commercial banks and other financial sector stakeholders.

As the region recovered, the Initiative’s focus shifted to addressing the remaining and new challenges in the financial industry, including the resolution of non-performing loans, the development of local capital markets in emerging Europe, funding innovation, and green transition.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Hospitals Mobilised Due to Rise in COVID Cases, Says Health Minister

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday 33.77% of coronavirus tests were positive and that hospitals would be additionally mobilized, including the reopening of the Arena Zagreb center for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Beroš said 74.5% of those infected and 75% of those hospitalized over the past week had not been vaccinated, and that among today's new cases 27% were under 20 and 60% were aged 20-40.

"The health system is preparing for new, additional burdens," he said, adding that experts of the Health Ministry's crisis management team concluded yesterday that it was necessary to increase the number of beds and intensive care units in Zagreb.

The ministry has instructed county civil protection teams and health centers to reopen COVID departments to relieve the pressure on hospitals.

Beroš said there was increased interest in vaccination, with 3,790 more people receiving the first dose in the first three days of this week than last week.

He said 56% of adults and over 88% of doctors have been vaccinated and urged everyone, notably the elderly, to get vaccinated. More than 14,000 persons have received a booster shot, he added.

The head of the national COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said the increase in new cases showed that people did not comply with COVID rules as much as they should.

That is why police, civil protection, and state inspectors will step up the monitoring of compliance in public transport, hospitality establishments, shopping centers, and at public gatherings, including weddings, he added.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Croatian Government Projects Growth For This Year At 9%

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - The Croatian government has projected growth for this year at 9.0 percent, while budget revenue for 2022 is forecast at HRK 164.5 billion, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

"Based on macroeconomic indicators for the national economy and external environment, and prevailing expectations, real GDP growth for 2021 is projected at 9 percent, which surpasses the real GDP level from 2019," Plenković said.

Under the amended budget for 2021, revenue has been increased by HRK 3.3 billion to HRK 153.6 billion and expenditure by HRK 6 billion to HRK 173.3 billion.

The budget is expected to show a deficit of HRK 19.7 billion or 4.7 percent of GDP. General government will run a shortfall of HRK 18.9 billion or 4.5 percent of GDP, the prime minister said.

Based on the general government fiscal balance, the public debt to GDP ratio is expected to decrease by 4.2 percentage points to 83.1 percent of GDP this year.

Total budget revenue for 2022 is projected at HRK 164.5 billion, Plenković said.

The government expects continued strong growth of economic activity at a rate of 4.4 percent in 2022, 3.7 percent in 2023, and 3.1 percent in 2024.

The budget deficit is forecast at 2.6 percent of GDP in 2022, 2.4 percent of GDP in 2023, and 1.9 percent of GDP in 2024.

The public debt to GDP ratio is expected to decline to 83.1 percent of GDP in 2021, 80.7 percent in 2022, 78.0 percent in 2023, and 75.3 percent of GDP in 2024.

This indicates that in the period considered Croatia will meet the fiscal convergence criteria for joining the euro area, the prime minister said.

"Before the outbreak of the crisis, government policies were focused on achieving macroeconomic stability by laying the foundation for sustainable economic growth and stable public finance. Its policies were recognized by international financial institutions and rating agencies, which have upgraded and maintained Croatia's credit rating at investment grade despite the negative consequences of the pandemic," Plenković said.

He said that all this had given Croatia fiscal room for crisis response, adding that the projected growth rates for this and next year showed the strength and resilience of the Croatian economy.

(€1 = HRK 7.521247)

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

PM Says 56% of Adult Population Vaccinated With First Dose

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that 56% of the adult population in Croatia had received the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine and warned that in the past week 750 of 1,000 hospitalized patients were people who had not been vaccinated.

Today we have reached the vaccination rate of 56% of the adult population who have received the first dose, which is close to 1.9 million citizens, Plenković said at a government session, calling once again on citizens who are fully vaccinated to have themselves vaccinated with the third shot and on those who have not got vaccinated to do so.

Over the past week, of 1,000 hospitalized patients, as many as 75% were not vaccinated, he said.

Of the 15 people aged 40-59 who died over the last seven days, only one had been vaccinated, he said, appealing to all to protect themselves considering the increase in new infections in the past few days.

In the last 24 hours, Croatia has registered 4,154 new coronavirus cases, 26 patients have died and 11,320 vaccine doses have been administered, it was said on the government's website earlier today.

There are currently 22,382 active cases, including 1,231 hospitalized patients, of whom 160 are on ventilators.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

MP Reports Croatia to European Commissioner Over Violation of Citizens' Rights

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Independent MP Karolina Vidović Krišto has sent a letter to European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, warning her about "systematic disregard for laws to which Croatian citizens have been exposed", which, she says, causes poverty and injustice in society.

"Croatian citizens' rights are constantly violated by the ruling structures, and politicians and the judiciary openly and publicly demonstrate arrogance and them being untouchable. Such conduct is not possible in stable democracies because it causes social chaos, which, in turn, causes poverty and injustice," Vidović Krišto said at a news conference.

In her letter to the European Commissioner, Vidović Krišto "cited a number of examples that bear witness to overt violations of laws by political structures, judiciary, and media."

The MP pointed to the main media outlets such as Hanza Media and Styria Media Group, saying they organize thematic conferences that are always held under the auspices of the ruling structures, the prime minister or the president, ministries or state agencies, and are sponsored by state monopolists such as JANAF, Plinacro, HC, HAC, HZ or HŠ, which, she said, is undoubtedly harmful to taxpayers.

DORH acting contrary to law, common sense

Vidović Krišto said that the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) knowingly acts contrary to law and common sense, thus creating insecurity among citizens, tolerating corruption, and violating human rights on a large scale, and she cited a number of cases in that context. She said that those cases were downplayed by the government, DORH, the judiciary, and the media.

"The ruling structures in Croatia do not violate laws in a sophisticated manner, they do it arrogantly and openly, showing contempt for all citizens," she said among other things.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Government to Extend Deadline for Population Census Until 14 November

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - The Croatian government will extend the deadline for the completion of the population census, which should have been finished by 29 October, until 14 November because of difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

"Considering the present circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, where our census-takers are encountering certain difficulties on the ground, and following consultations with the director of the National Bureau of Statistics, the government will today extend the deadline for the completion of the census until 14 November," the prime minister said.

Plenković said that the extension would give enough time for the census to be completed in the remaining small pockets of the country and to be done in the best possible way.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

HKMS Wants Health Workers to Be Granted Status of Officials

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021- The Croatian Chamber of Nurses (HKMS) on Thursday asked the Ministry of the Interior to deploy police patrols around medical institutions more often and the Ministry of Justice to amend the criminal code and grant health workers the status of officials.

That would increase security for health workers and provide them with a safe working environment, the HKMS said in a statement prompted by a recent assault on patients in the accident and emergency area of the KBC Zagreb hospital.

"The incident at KBC Zagreb is not an isolated case of attack on nurses in the course of their duties. Cases of psychological harassment, shouting, and threats directed at health workers by patients, their families, and other people have become part of everyday life for many health workers," HKMS president Mario Gazić said.

He warned that violence against nurses and other health workers was an increasing problem that might escalate to the point of becoming a threat to their lives.

Citing the results of an HKMS survey conducted in 2018, Gazić said that 95 percent of nurses considered the present physical protection and security in medical institutions to be inadequate and that 73 percent of institutions reported attacks on nurses.

The survey revealed that 89 percent of nurses had experienced verbal or physical violence in the course of their duties, half of the institutions did not have a 24-hour security service and nine percent had such a service only during the night.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

ECDC Map Shows Entire Croatia Dark Red

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's (ECDC) latest COVID map shows that Croatia is entirely dark red as are large parts of Eastern Europe.

Dark red signifies a very high risk of COVID-19 incidence.

Last week the capital Zagreb and Pannonian Croatia were dark red on the ECDC map, while Adriatic Croatia and North Croatia were red.

The ECDC estimates COVID-19 risk according to the bigger statistical regions within a country (NUTS 2).

NUTS 2 regions must have a minimum of 800,000 inhabitants and a maximum of three million. There are only four NUTS2 regions in Croatia - Pannonian Croatia, Adriatic Croatia, Northern Croatia, and the City of Zagreb.


ECDC Map for October 28th, 2021

Unlike during the summer months, when the epidemiological situation was worst in the west of the EU, now regions in the east of the EU are mostly marked red or dark red.

All regions of Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia are dark red, as are the largest parts of Slovakia and smaller parts of Greece. Hungary and Germany are entirely red, while neighboring Austria is partly red and partly dark red.

The epidemiological situation is better in the Czech Republic, where two regions are orange and the rest are red. The situation is similar in Poland, while all Baltic countries are entirely dark red.

Of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden has the best situation, being entirely orange, while Finland is completely red.

The Benelux countries as well as Ireland are red or dark red, while France is completely orange.

Italy and Spain have the best epidemiological situation, being green and orange, while Portugal is orange.

The ECDC updates its epidemiological map every Thursday.

Red means the number of active cases in the past two weeks has been between 75 and 200 per 100,000 population and that 4% or more of the COVID tests have been positive.

Dark red are those countries where the total number of cases in 14 days has been over 500.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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